4 December 2012

South Africa: Farmworkers to Down Tools

Photo: Sapa
Farmworkers march in Paarl, 4 December 2012

Pretoria — Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant says her department has noted the farmworkers' intention to go on strike for better pay and working conditions.

Thousands of farmworkers nationwide are expected to go on a one-day strike today. The current minimum salary for farmworkers is R70 per day.

A strike by farmworkers in the Western Cape recently turned violent.

Oliphant has called on all of those who may be taking part in the strike to conduct themselves peacefully.

"Violence has no place in our society, whose foundation as a democracy is based on intensive social dialogue. Nothing yet has proven to work better than the ability to negotiate and reach consensus," said Oliphant.

The minister called on the farmers and those representing workers to continue negotiating in good faith, in order to reach an agreement regarding the wages of farmworkers and improved conditions of employment.

The department was still going ahead with public hearings that would contribute to the fashioning of a new sectoral determination for farmworkers.

"The process is continuing. The hearings have been scheduled until 13 December 2012 but in some instances, the department will be going back for further hearings where we have been requested to.

"I must emphasise that the process of the sectoral determination does not replace the negotiations between business and employee representatives. In fact, it complements it and it is my fervent wish for the parties to come to an agreement as soon as possible," said Oliphant.

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